What does it take to start a business?
A business plan? Capital? Strategic business premises? Yes, all of the above. However, the most important thing is making sure your business is fully operational before any customers walk through the door.
Many small businesses don’t even get past this stage. Why? Well, most of them get overwhelmed by the amount of work required to get the system running.
But what if that work can be assigned to someone else?
In this LegalZoom vs. Nolo Review, we will look at two of the best LLC services that take this burden off entrepreneurs’ backs.
LegalZoom vs. Nolo: Side-by-Side Comparison
Before going to the specifics, let’s see how companies known for providing the best online incorporation services compare in general:
|BBB rating||NR (No Rating)||A+|
|Support||Phone, email, direct online message, FAQ section||Phone, email, physical mail, direct online message, FAQ section|
|Free trial||7-day free trial||No|
|Mobile app||Android, iOS||No apps|
|Satisfaction guarantee||60-day money-back guarantee||Refund possible but not guaranteed|
What is evident from the table above is that Nolo has been in the Limited Liability Company (LLC) formation business much longer than LegalZoom. Moreover, its A+ Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating is likely to lead business owners to choose this company when seeking online legal services.
Meanwhile, LegalZoom appears more appropriate for modern customer needs, especially since it offers a mobile app and efficient customer support.
But that is just from first impressions. Is LegalZoom better than Nolo? Let’s find out!
Products and Services
Besides LLC formation, LegalZoom and Nolo offer other products and services. These include attorney consultations and legal forms for business, personal use, and safeguarding intellectual property.
The two companies are distinctly unique despite similarities in business models, as seen in the breakdown below.
Business products and services
The first notable difference is the pricing.
The basic Nolo LLC formation package costs $49 + state filing fees. On the other hand, LegalZoom’s economy package costs $79 + state filing fees.
Another difference is that all business legal forms are available to Nolo Standard & Nolo Express subscribers — the platform’s second-tier and premium subscription plans. They can also all be purchased as a bundle for $199.
Meanwhile, LegalZoom’s subscribers don’t have the same access — they have to pay for the best online legal documents à la carte.
Yet another thing that separates the two is that Nolo offers books, ebooks, and software solutions (such as the will-writing software).
Meanwhile, LegalZoom doesn’t have such resources in its catalog. However, the website has a special resources page with informative articles about business formation, estate planning, etc.
Personal legal assistance
As for personal legal needs, Nolo’s catalog consists of already drafted, region-specific legal documents. For instance, when you search for a Nolo will on the company’s website, a template specific to Louisiana pops up.
With LegalZoom, users have to customize the legal document themselves or enlist an attorney to walk them through filing a residential lease or fine-tuning a LegalZoom will review.
Overall, Nolo’s legal documents database seems to be more comprehensive.
Real estate services
LegalZoom only specializes in two real estate areas: residential lease and property deed transfer. Therefore, you can only access templates and bundles relating to these subfields.
On the other hand, its competitor offers many online legal documents covering various real estate needs.
Nolo’s Power of Attorney real estate forms are a popular pick. Others include:
- Commercial lease agreements
- Quitclaim deeds
- Assignment of rights forms
Both LegalZoom and Nolo have a network of on-call lawyers known to offer some of the best online legal advice.
That said, LegalZoom’s lawyers are experts in various legal practice areas (estate planning, LLC formation, intellectual property, etc.), while Nolo’s directory is much more diverse.
Nolo lawyers specialize in 46 different legal spheres. This makes the service one of the go-to companies for any online legal questions.
LegalZoom’s library consists of 150 legal forms covering LLC formation, business, and personal legal assistance.
While Nolo doesn’t state the number of documents in its database, we estimate there are 100+ forms in its trove. This puts the two services on equal footing.
However, with a standard or premium membership, you get unlimited access to all business Nolo forms.
Nolo vs. LegalZoom Pricing Compared
Does the LLC formation industry obey the laws of supply and demand? Our detailed comparison of the various players seems to suggest so. But LegalZoom and Nolo are far from the aggressive market players.
LegalZoom prides itself on providing premium services at a premium price. Nolo, on the other hand, comes across as a veteran who’s happy to maintain a standard price.
So, when it comes to Nolo vs. LegalZoom LLC formation services — which company offers more, and at what cost? Let’s find out.
For all its advantages, opening an LLC with LegalZoom has been cited as expensive by many small business owners.
LegalZoom’s LLC packages come in three tiers:
- Economy Package ($79 + state filing fees) – other than including a complete LLC formation packet, this basic plan also offers business name search & business entity filing, a document review, and business registration. However, this plan has no expedited processing or express shipping — the standard filing period is 20 business days.
- Standard Package ($329 + state filing fees) – the second-tier plan includes everything from the Economy package, membership certificates, and a deluxe founder’s kit. This plan guarantees the filing process will be done in approximately ten business days.
- Express Gold Package ($349 + state filing fees) – the premium package. It includes everything from the Standard Package, expedited processing, and fast shipping. With this plan, all formation documents will be shipped within two to five business days.
How much do other key LegalZoom incorporation services cost?
The company charges some essential incorporation services individually. This means users have to incur these extra costs on top of the package fees.
For instance, registered agent services cost $299 per year, while annual compliance starts at $55 plus state filing fees.
Lastly, LegalZoom also offers incorporation services such as starting a C or S Corporation ($149 + filing fees) and establishing a DBA ($99 + filing fees).
Nolo’s LLC formation services also come in three packages.
- Basic Package ($49 + state filing fees) – includes LLC name validation, Articles of Organization filing, automated error checking, phone support, and a guide to LLC formalization. The standard filing period for this plan is 2-3 weeks.
- Standard Package ($149 + state filing fees) – the second-tier plan that has additional features such as EIN registration and unlimited access to business forms. Filing takes 2-3 weeks.
- Express Package ($299 + state filing fees) – the company’s premium option. With this membership, you get all features available in Standard, a personalized LLC records kit & seal, and expedited filing (7-10 business days).
Additional incorporation services
As with LegalZoom, some key LLC formation services are not included in any package and are charged separately.
A Nolo registered agent service costs $149 + state filing fees. Annual compliance costs vary per state.
LegalZoom vs. Nolo: Customer Support
How a company handles customer complaints and inquiries is vital in business formation.
Let’s see how these two companies compare when it comes to customer support.
LegalZoom customer service
LegalZoom’s customer support team can be reached by:
- Phone between 5 am and 7 pm Pacific Time (PT) on business days
- Phone between 7 am and 4 pm PT during weekends
- Direct online message
LegalZoom also has a detailed FAQ section for common questions and problems.
Nolo customer service
If you need help from Nolo’s customer support team, you can get it via:
- Phone between 9 am and 5 pm Pacific Time (PT) on business days
- Direct online message
You can also look for helpful information in the FAQ section. Aside from that, you can also contact the company via physical mail.
It’s safe to say that the difference between LegalZoom’s customer reviews on various platforms is like day and night.
LegalZoom gets a thumbs up from most users. What they appreciate the most is the company’s fast and responsive customer service and its easy-to-use platform. A few negative comments pop up, but they are scarce.
In stark contrast, most Nolo reviews on Trustpilot are negative. Many users gave the company a one-star rating.
LegalZoom’s reviews on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) are mostly positive. The likely explanation for this is that the company quickly resolves complaints.
At the time of compiling this piece, there were only five Nolo reviews on BBB, which were insufficient for us to render an opinion. Three of the five reviews were posted by lawyers complaining about wrong leads.
Nolo vs. LegalZoom for LLC: Which One to Go With?
Both companies offer LLC formation services competitive to those provided by their competitors, such as Rocket Lawyer. If you’re having trouble choosing between the two, here’s what will help you decide. You should consider:
- The specifications you prefer: choose the service that offers the features you want.
- Pricing: weigh how much you’re willing to spend and see which of the two offers the best value. Pay attention to how each service prices important services, such as a registered agent.
- Customer support: when starting your business or facing a legal challenge, you’ll probably need help.
- Customer reviews: checking third-party sites to gauge popular sentiment will fill you in on the experiences of other users and potentially save you from being stung.
Which Is Better, LegalZoom or Nolo? Our Verdict
As we wrap up, we start with one of the most common questions: Is LegalZoom worth it? The answer is — absolutely, at least judging by an overview of its features and customer reviews. When talking about customer support, LegalZoom seems like a better fit. Let’s not forget it also offers a free trial.
However, let’s not disregard Nolo. Our review concludes that the company is better in many aspects, starting with pricing. Besides that, it also has more legal resources covering almost every sphere.
The only arguments that count against Nolo are poor customer reviews and a lack of proper customer support structures. Other than that, Nolo is one of the companies that provides the best LLC formation services.
Based on numerous LegalZoom customer reviews, most users have a positive experience with the company and the services it provides.
Nolo.com is a website that provides LLC formation and online lawyer services and gives access to numerous legal resources (such as templates, books & ebooks, and software).
The answer to this question is relative. It depends on what you want. Our review finds that LegalZoom has better customer support systems and is innovative and technologically advanced. However, Nolo offers better prices, turnaround times, and database depth.
Yes. The company provides LLC formation and online lawyer services and has been in business for half a century.
Based on LegalZoom LLC formation customer reviews, you can. Most users express their contentment with the company’s customer support and its products and services. Our LegalZoom vs. Nolo review also concludes that you can put your faith in the company.